Sunday, April 17, 2011

in memory of crw

CRW was the name of the apartment complex where we lived at Princeton Theological Seminary. We just got the alumni magazine in the mail last week and found out that they have actually begun construction of their new married/family student housing, which in many ways is awesome! At the same time, i find myself mourning those apartments, and remembering the good times we had there.

CRW: the good, the bad & the ugly
The buildings had eight apartments in them, and there were about 18 of them (if memory serves). They were built in the 1960s, judging from the Pepto Bismol-pink bathroom tile and bathtubs! But they were spacious and had hardwood floor tiles. The basements had mold growing in them and you had to have the stuff in your basement storage unit up off the ground on palates, because when it rained there was standing water in the basements. Some of the buildings only had one washer and drier for all 8 apartments (some had two). Showers were notoriously temperamental, and we had to jump in and out of the stream of water often as it would suddenly change temperature for no apparent reason. Perhaps we somehow shared water heaters? I'm not sure, but it was a good topic of conversation on the Shuttle to and from CRW to campus. The apartments had a good amount of storage space (for an apartment), and each had a little deck outside sliding glass doors. The kitchens were updated and most had nice natural gas stoves and good appliances. We couldn't paint the walls, but that's OK--we were broke seminary students anyway.

CRW: a community
What I liked most about CRW was the community, and I assume that will continue. The buildings were built around a central greenspace where people played sports (especially whiffle ball!), walked dogs, played on the playground or studied outside when possible. After having a kid, that space was especially valuable for us as we made connections with other parents who were students, while our kids played on the playground. People would have barbecues as often as the weather would permit (and even sometimes when it wouldn't!). Each building had at least one barbecue, many of them passed down from other generations of PTS students. Parties out on the lawn were fall and spring staples. We were never there during the summer, but I think we missed the best parties because of it!

The student housing--not the housing itself but the fact that there was housing and it invited community--was one of the main reasons we chose to go to PTS. It made it possible for both of us to build relationships and feel part of the seminary community even though I was the only one in school. CRW served us well.

Remembering CRW
The other night I had a dream that we were visiting friends at their apartment at CRW, and I woke up and was really sad that that won't ever happen again--not because we'll never go back there, but that space no longer exists. A couple years ago my grandparents took a trip and visited every house my grandma had lived in, to celebrate her 75th birthday. It hit me that my son will never be able to do that because that house won't be there. We have photos but it's not the same. (I guess I won't be able to do that, either, but that's beside the point! I remember what it looked like, but he won't.)

Prayer for the future
I don't know exactly what the new building wil look like, but it's my prayer that it is a space that is similarly inviting for community, that will hold future students in such a way that they feel supported and at home while they are away from their families and normal faith communities. May it be a place rich in good memories for those students as they prepare for the ministries to which they are called.

A Friend, Erica, from home who also spent time at CRW

Our dear friends Elaine & Nate who were another big reason we went to PTS, in their CRW apartment

When we first moved back after E was born

The forest we could see across the street, out our sliding glass doors, in our second apartment at CRW

Where EP learned to walk!

Ah, snow storms...

We did a lot of Skyping!

friends Adeline & Junia on the playground

The Canal in fall (at least that will still be there!)

Dear Lutheran friend, Julie, & Catholic friend, Jason, throwing a Reformation Day Party...only in seminary...

Another creative party where we took turns reading a novella aloud and we had to wear scarves while reading.

Open mic at our place

After EP's 2nd birthday

Joel doing a party trick...trying to fit into a kids car that had been part of the CRW community for who-knows-how-many years (but not many years after this trick!)

All loaded up for the drive home for the last time.

No comments: